Monday, December 22, 2014

Lightning Round Idea - Carousing Deck?

I'm considering making a carousing deck for lightning rounds. It is no fun for characters who aren't spell casters just to sit around doing nothing, and they have a whole lot of cash they might want to burn. Here's way for them to do it:

The way it works is that the character decides how much they want to "stake" carousing, and then draws from the deck. The base result is that the character gains 50% of the gold "staked" in XP for that week's round, but something interesting also happens that could become an adventure hook or another jumping off point. Or something embarrassing. Or something dangerous, or awesome. All the way up to gaining 100% of the gold "staked" in XP, or LOSING something materially valuable like a magic item or cash.

Here are some of my examples:
  • You are involved in random brawl. Roll Strength check or start adventure d3 hit points short. There 50% chance that the authorities were involved, and now Stu the Town Guard "has his eyes on you". Lose your staked gold to convince Stu and the guard to look the other way. Gain 50% of your gold staked in XP for the round.
  • Romantic entanglement. You lavish your crush with gifts, losing all the gold staked. Roll Wisdom check to avoid nuptials. Otherwise 1-3 scorned lover, 4-6 angered parents. If the character is already married, they have created enemies within their spouse's family. Gain 50% of your gold staked in XP for the round.
  • Gambling losses. Carouser loses his stake as well as an additional amount of gold equal to 50% of gold originally staked. However, they gain 50% of the gold staked as well as lost in XP for the round.
  • You didn't see the rash until the following morning. Roll Constitution check to avoid venereal disease, which will inflict a -2 penalty to armor class. You keep your stake, but only gain 10% of your gold staked in XP for the round.
  • You lose your staked gold gambling, and decide to continue to gamble using your magic items. Roll Wisdom check for each magic item in your possession. Failure indicates it is gone in the night's haze. You learn a valuable lesson, and gain 100% of the gold staked in XP for the round.
  • One of us! One of us! You’re not sure how it happened, but you have been initiated into some sort of secret society or weird cult. Your staked gold is gone to pay for "club dues" or "victory points" or whatever. It is hard to remember. Did that guy just give you the secret signal? Roll Int check to vaguely remember the signs and passes. Gain 50% of your gold staked in XP for the round.
  • After drinking through all your staked gold, you get the hangover from hell. You are -2 on all attacks and saves, and you may not do another "lightning round" for a week. Some people just never learn. Gain only 25% of your gold staked in XP for the round.

Sound like a good idea? What do you think about making a "hijinks" deck and "treasure hunting deck" to go with this one.

EDIT: Sometimes you don't lose your staked gold, but that will generally confer a lower XP benefit.

Session 32 Action Shot

The Skull Collectors face a horde of the Legion of the Damned on the island of the dead.

The final battle during the sacrifice at the Temple of 1000 Devils.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Hobbit, the battle to work up enough enthusiasm to watch the new movie

So I went to watch the new hobbit movie.

Short review: If you didn't like the rest of the movies, you probably won't like this movie.

Now I am not any kind of a purist when it comes to Tolkien movies.  I read The Hobbit almost thirty years ago, and haven't touched it since.  I read all the LOTR books, after watching the movies, and decided I didn't have to keep the books.  I bought the silly-marilly-ion book, and got rid of it after realizing I had no interest in reading it.  I have the super-deluxe DVD collections of the LOTR movies, but mostly I keep those because I found the special features fascinating.  I played The Lord of the Rings Online for years, more out of boredom and being free to play than anything else (I really, REALLY wanted to be able to go on a hobbit killing spree in the Shire).

It's merely an 'OK' movie.  To quote Caesar in the History of the World, part 1:  Nice.  Not great, just nice.  You could do far worse than to watch this movie, especially as a fantasy fan.  Though watching the huge, improbable battle at the end, I find myself wishing they'd do a Warhammer Fantasy movie.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pushback Cards

Quick question for everyone. Are we still using the "pushback" cards? Now that the Wormcult has taken the Elfwood, there are some pretty interesting things that could happen. Also, is anyone creating cards for Amicus' population of lawful douchebags in the Yoesville countryside? By the end of August, their morale will be adjusted again and chances are good that things will improve now that they are accustomed the power and protection of Jupiter.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Second Battle of Elfwood

I wanted to play out the second battle of Elfwood, just in case the Wormcult wasn't able to completely crush the elves. I wasn't surprised. Since the Wormcult didn't give away surprise this time, they won handily. The elves stayed to the last man, dying where they stood in defense of their homeland. I decided to go with the "Platoon" level this time, (30 infantry/15 cavalry per unit) which I thought would make things go slower. It didn't.

Elfwood Troops
  • 180 Light Infantry - BR 9 (3*3)
  • 90 Longbowmen - BR 21 (7*3)

    Wormcult Troops
  • 120 Heavy Bugbears - BR 16 * 4
  • 240 Light Bugbears - BR 18 *8
  • 60 Hobgoblin Longbowmen - BR 4 * 2
  • 120 Hobgoblin Light Inf - BR 2 * 4
  • 30 Hobgoblin Heavy Inf - BR 2.5 * 1
  • 0 Hobgoblin Light Cav - BR 3 * 0
  • 120 Goblin Light Inf - BR 1.5 * 4
  • 120 Goblin Bowmen - BR 1.5 * 4

    TurnElf BRWorm BRNotes
    133102.5Wormcult meets elves head-on
    2592.5Elves make their morale check - barely

    The Wormcult then pillages the Elfwood domain. They get a month's wages for each unit destroyed in battle right off the bat. Each day, they get 3d6 gp per family, 1d10x5gp in supplies per family, and 1d10 prisoners per 10 families. The stronghold is reduced 1gp per 1gp plundered and 1d10 per 10 families are lost per day as well. The attack happened on July 2nd, giving the Wormcult 30 days to do their worst. They had the Elfwood cleaned out in seven days.
    The profits of war
  • 20,687 Gold in plunder
  • 44,825 Gold in supplies
  • 1126 Prisoners of war
  • They reduced the value of the Elfwood stronghold to 179,458gp in value

    So essentially they broke into the fortifications, took everything that wasn't nailed down, killed everything that moved, and left without really dismantling the stronghold itself. One might assume that a force of the Wormcult might even take up the stronghold themselves. It should be said that there are several smaller domains within the Elfwood which were also stormed and sacked but offered no resistance -- which was why many of these elves fled to the East to take up residence in Diggers.
  • Sunday, December 14, 2014

    Plan for Next week's game

    I thought that I'd offer to Judge next week.   I know Andrew wants to start to conquer the Island of the Dead, and that the Grand Temple of 1000 Devils is about to hold a Grand Sacrifice on September 1, which can't be good news for our heroes.   So perhaps in late August, the Skull Collectors might strike the temple?   Sound good?

    Tuesday, December 9, 2014

    Domain Level Play

    I've created a section of the wiki so that those who wish to share information about a domain they rule or some mercenaries they command may do so. Please ask me for a username and password to get editing capability if you don't already have it. You may find the stub entries, as well as Amicus' current entry here.

    For those of you who don't know what Yoesville now looks like, see the maps of uptown and downtown here.

    Monday, December 8, 2014

    Session 31 Action Shot

    The Skull Collectors fight off an attack of giants and trolls near Yoesville.

    Saturday, November 22, 2014


    Had we agreed that the pushback cards would be 4x6 white cards?

    Some cards are only going to be directed at certain individuals, and that should be noted on the card.

    For example:

    Family of Dead Princess Attacks!!

    (Applies only to Murderface, Rotwang or Brother Punchy)

    If you make up stat cards for bad guys, if you put them on 3x5 cards, I can keep them in the master box and we all can use them at a moments notice in various circumstances.   If you want to use my format, it looks like this:

    Friday, November 21, 2014

    Example Card for "Push Back" Deck

    We've discussed how we might play the next game. My current proposal is to have an extended "lightning round" that features all players offering what they want to do for a week of game time, and then adjudicating that time.

    The game would feature the "Push Back" deck that Dave mentioned. Here's my first card as an example for such a deck:

    The Griggle the Wormpriest is angry at the Skull Collectors for nearly assassinating him in his own nest. The vermin lord sends a strike squad to ambush the Skull Collectors as they travel the Badlands using a powerful divination to guide him to the appropriate time and place to make the strike. As the PCs pass, a throng of bugbears led by spellcasters spews from hidden pits in the ground.

    The enemy force will depend on what the force attacked consists of. If there are several traveling groups, then the one attacked will be randomly determined or both will be attacked simultaneously.

  • There will be three Bugbear troopers per PC or henchman
  • There will be one Bugbear champion per PC or henchman
  • There will be one Bugbear subchief per PC
  • There will be three Hexgivers per fighter
  • There will be one Dark Curate and Bugbear shaman per divine spellcaster
  • There will be one Ruinchild and a Bugbear witchdoctor per arcane spellcaster
  • After three rounds, a Caecilian will show up for every two spellcasters that are slain.

    Before the battle, draw one magic item per PC from the magic deck for the attackers to use against the PCs. Treasure from the battle will be those items and a lowly 200gp per PC.

  • This card would be backed up by this page of stat blocks.

    What's the Plan, Ray?

    So, what's our plan for the next game, Sunday, December 7 (a date that might live in infamy?)
    Does anyone want to call dibs on judging?  Does anyone want to call dibs on lightning round?   Does anyone have a goal they dearly need to accomplish and requires someone to judge it?

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

    Pronouncing "Caturiges"

    This question came up on Sunday,  the proper pronunciation of Caturiges is:


    Wednesday, November 19, 2014

    Who Hates the Skull Collectors

    Something I'm really loving about this campaign is that there is no single judge. Just about all of us have at one time or another stepped into a narrator role, and I'm loving that about this particular game. It is something that I've always wanted, and I have finally gotten.

    However, the downside is that there is no "overriding force" above all the others. We all understand the situation perfectly and can act on it since we are all both judge and player. Which brings me to the topic of this post. What if we *randomly* gamed how the world we've created pushes back on us? Who hates us the most? What are the chances they'll do it sooner or later? The Skull Collectors are upsetting the balance of Gatavia province. Maybe we just determine randomly from "best guesses" which shoe (or shoes) drop and when?

    Please note that all these percentages are separate chances as I see. In other words they won't add up to 100%. It is the chance that a particular domain does a particular thing. They could do multiples of these, or perhaps nothing at all. How often do we roll these chances? That is up for discussion.

    Dengwur's forces
    Speaking about upsetting the balance of Gatavia province, reincarnating Dengwur was probably the biggest shift. It is safe to say that Dengwur hates everyone, but chances are the Skull Collectors won't be high on his shit list. We've proved our incompetence by handing him the Rod of Castor for crying out loud. He probably doesn't think we are a threat. He's got to be hopping mad at the Old Ones who destroyed his body in a battle over 200 years ago in the Fusk Wood. I would say that his first order of business is to muster all the forces he can to crush his ancient enemies, the Old Ones.

  • 60% - Muster to attack the Old Ones
  • 15% - Reclaim the Island of the Dead and attack Yoesville
  • 5% - Attack Dwarfhall to pick up some more resources
  • 5% - Attack Cavano to pick up some more resources
  • 2% - Attack the Therks to assure their cooperation

    The Old Ones
    With Dengwur on the move, the Old Ones certainly must be mustering their forces as well. However, if they learn that the Skull Collectors are looking to rebuild the Augur's Towers from the Ardean Empire they would jump to put an end to it. That said, any movement by the Old Ones will be small and surgical. They may consider attacking Portchester if they see an opening, for example if they decide to march their armies South and leave their Eastern border lightly defended.

  • 70% - Muster to attack the Old Ones
  • 10% - Muster to attack Portchester

    They are stinging from the brazen attack on the most secure parts of the church of Bor and the barrel of Chaos Monkies. Once they put themselves together they would certainly look to clear out the Skull Collectors in the Badlands. Perhaps they start small with summoned attackers, strike teams, and assassinations, but ultimately they want retribution. They can't commit too much because of the heightened threat from the Old Ones. However, if Dengwur launches his assault on the Old Ones a full attack to clear the Badlands is imminent, unless they see the Old Ones as a greater threat in which case they might try to reclaim territory as the Old Ones are busy with Dengwur. There is a small chance that Portchester might decide that the old gods are out to get them, and even decide to attack their former neighbor and ally, the Caturiges.

  • 75% - Attack the Skull Collectors using a strike team or assassination
  • 30% - Muster the army to clear out all the Badlands
  • 10% - Muster the army to attack the Old Ones
  • 1% - Attack Caturiges in retaliation of the power of the old gods
  • 3% - Attack the Savages in retaliation of the power of the old gods

    The Westerlings might come to the aid of the elves of the Elfwood against their savage cousins. There might be an opportunity for the Skull Collectors to get them on their side in the case of a war with Portchester.

  • 5% - Attack the savages
  • 2% - Muster the army to attack Portchester

    The forces of Orchester would perhaps get involved in a land war if Portchester is attacked. Otherwise, they may attack pre- emptively if they think it might take out the Therks to the North. They can't leave their West march undefended, since there are giants and dragons in the Wastelands just to the North. To end that threat, they could perhaps attack North into the Wastelands to end a threat that they might believe to be Dengwur's.

  • 10% - Muster to pre-emptively attack the Therks
  • 5% - Muster to pre-emptively attack the Wormcult

    The Cult of the Worm rose from the ashes of Dengwur's rule. As a result, they are nominally allies of Dengwur's but they fear that he will see that they have in fact broken from his service in his absence. They will continue their attacks against the Elfwood, perhaps crushing and enslaving the domains there. However, they might also attempt to recruit the Therks from Dengwur or perhaps even cut a deal with Yoesville against Dengwur.

  • 95% - Attack the Elfwood
  • 55% - Make secret offers to ally wth the Therks against Dengwur
  • 85% - Make offers to ally with the Savages against the Elfwood and Portchester
  • 5% - Attack the Savages
  • 10% - Attack Orchester
  • 5% - Attack the Therks
  • 5% - Attack Yoesville directly
  • 10% - Make secret offers to ally with the Skull Collectors against Dengwur

    Once part of the Caturiges, the cannibals of the savage lands fell under the influence of Dengwur. There are three clans, the Wolf, Bear, and Boar each carrying its own unique curse in its blood. Since Dengwur's disappearance, they have lost a lot of their direction and at this point don't know whether they should support the upstart Wormcult or Dengwur their former master. Either way, they hate their Caturix brothers and they want to eat the elves of the Elfwood.

  • 50% - Attack the Elfwood
  • 15% - Make raids into the Caturiges
  • 50% - Claim to ally with the Wormcult
  • 15% - Actually ally with the Wormcult
  • 50% - Claim to ally with Dengwur
  • 15% - Actually ally with Dengwur

    The elves are doing their best to just stay alive under attacks by the Savages and the Wormcult. They will continue to ask anyone and everyone for help.

  • 75% - Ask the Skull Collectors for help defending against the Wormcult
  • 10% - Ask Portchester for help defending against the Wormcult
  • 75% - Ask the Caturiges for help defeinding against the wormcult

    The easterling horseclans have traditionally been allies of Dengwur, but they have grown accustomed to doing as they wished since Dengwur's disappearance. The Khan Parsnak III rules Pulchester from an old army base. He is nominally in charge of the four roving bands of Therks - the Tigers, the Falcons, the Stallions and the Lions. Chances are great that he and the roving bands all declare that they do Dengwur's bidding once again, but there might be some opportunities for hedging as well.

  • 95% - Claim to ally with Dengwur
  • 45% - Actually ally with Dengwur
  • 5% - Actually ally with the Wormcult
  • 10% - Make secret offers to ally with Orchester
  • 5% - Make secret offers to ally with Yoesville

  • Tuesday, November 18, 2014

    Boscovania News and Funk Report #6

    Issue #6:  July 1,  1431
    Editor in Chief:  Bosco Smokey, president of Boscovania Fine Smokeables
    Dengwur has returned!  Damnation and Doom face us all.   Rabid enemies of mankind have used the Scepter of Castor to reincarnate the destroyer of all that is decent.   He was reclaimed his throne in his dread tower and called forth a summons to all vassals to come and pay him homage.  The Therks, Death Troopers, Savages, Cult of 1000 Devils and the countless goblin hordes are flocking to his banner.   DOOM!
    The mysterious master of Tower Graf is slain.  So reports the sole surviving half-elf mercenary who escaped the attack.   He claims that a combination army of Giants and Dwarves fell from the sky and sacked the tower.   It has been claimed that the notorious kidnapper, murderer, priest-slayer and bank robber Rotwang led the assault and is the new lord of the tower, but witnesses say the new lord doesn’t look like Rotwang at all, rather a smaller, less beefy fellow.   It is the opinion of this editor that this is some minion of Dengwur’s claiming the tower for his dark master.
    The magistrate’s court of Orchester has issued a warrant for the arrest of local some-times resident Tiberio on a charge of grand theft magic for the theft of a magic scroll.   The complaint was signed by Stanwick Cheesemaker, a wizard of the school of Mulfando in good standing, with corroborating testimony by a certain Vaguely Ill-smelling Jack.
     The headquarters of the noted band of brigands known as “The Skull Collectors” in the vicinity of Skull Mountain was plundered recently.   4 of the mercenaries guarding the place were reported to have been overheard at Peaches’ saying that when their bosses were away cloaked enemies burst in and looted Skull Manor.  They were most interested in hauling off the collection of carcasses, most especially the body of Spunky the Cyclops, for whom they had a large wagon prepared.
    The population of Yoeville (Villa Jovis), formerly Bastardville, is reported to be just as dissatisfied with their new pagan master Pontifex Amicus as they had been under Lucius Bastardo.  Was this change part of Dengwur’s return as well?  Bor forfend their evil schemes.
    Advertisement:  Afraid of Dengwur:  send 10sp to Nigel Mysterio,  at the Mysterious Tower (south of Portchester, along the river) for a “Charm of Evil Protection”, return for full refund if you are destroyed by Dengwur.

    Bandits in Yoesville!

    As Yoesville enters its second season, Amicus is pleased to see that the settlement has increased in morale and value. With any luck it should continue to prosper. However, I'm afraid that the remainder of the domain of Yoesville is bent out of shape at having to accept Jupiter's grace and a few malcontents have started to turn to banditry - 284 of them to be exact.

    With the addition of the Hydra Mercenary Company to the ranks of the garrison of Yoesville, Amicus is certain that he should be able to "contain" the problem. However, he would still welcome the help of any heroes who are in need of some walking around money. Amicus will offer 1000 gold coins for any 6-8 level character who will aid in Yoesville's defense for the months of June, July, and August.

    Keep in mind that Amicus isn't looking to slay all these lowlifes. He just wants to make some clear examples of the ringleaders to persuade these lawfuls to go back to their farms. That's all.

    As a historical note, the following characters were paid 1K gold for the following months in the past (except for Decius and Beavis):
  • Wang (March, April, May)
  • Rotwang (March, April, May)
  • Murderface (March, April, May)
  • Masked Archer (March, April)
  • Decius (May - only 800gp)
  • Beavis (May - only 800gp)
  • Monday, November 17, 2014

    Action Shots from "Split the Party" - Session 30

    The adventurers assault the Tower Graf.

    Meanwhile, the Masked Archer of the Apocalypse sneaks in to help liberate Diggers... Amicus' and Rinaldo's forces wait in reserve.

    Sithak hired Murderface to assassinate an old drunk.

    Tiberio bests a rival who accused him of passing gas. Also, this wizard loves cheese.

    Saturday, November 15, 2014

    Arrrgggh, stupid mistakes in good books

    I'm currently reading a book called 'The Terror'.  It's about the Sir Captain John Franklin's attempt to find, and navigate through, the northwest passage in 1845-1847.  The expedition not-so-mysteriously disappeared, due to a wide variety of horrible things that happened to sailors and explorers back then.  They just found one of the ships back in September.  The author has fictionalized the entire thing, taking a great deal of the known facts, adding in a demonic polar bear from Inuit legends, and turning it into a cracking good read (and, is being turned into a series for AMC).

    Horrible things happen, and keep on happening, as these two ships full of British sailors try to survive with dwindling supplies, horrific conditions, and a monster that is much more than they can cope with.  It's been fantastic, except for this last little bit.

    Spoiler alert, if anybody plans on reading this book, don't read any further.

    Okay, the supplies are nearly gone, the coal for heat is nearly gone, and the ships are so banged up, even if the ice wasn't likely to last through the summer, they wouldn't float anyways.  The new commander of the expedition (after Sir Captain John asshole get's his head crunched off like a cheeto) is discussing with the remaining officers and experts about their best course of action.  They measure the pros and cons of staying where they are and dying, or trying to walk 1000 miles to the nearest civilization so they can die during the attempt.  The meeting breaks up, and a steward walks up the captain, and tells him something he read from the multiple-volume journal of James Ross, a much-vaunted arctic explorer that came through the same general area this expedition currently was in.  This steward tells the captain that, just a few short years ago, James Ross left several small camps with food and boats all around the area, and that one was just 25 miles away.  He went on to tell the captain that James Ross' journal included elaborate details on arctic survival including how to make igloos, hunting and fishing on the ice, and how best to become friends with the local native tribes.  The captain politely thanked the steward for telling him all this (being righteously pissed off because an underling was giving him unsolicited advice on life or death matters) and dismissed him.  Then he pulled the volumes down off the shelf and read them.

    That is what made me mad.  The captain not only did, apparently, read any of the previous explorers journal BEFORE he went on this trip, during the two years these two ships full of 50+ officers (who all had to be able to read) and 100+ sailors (who were, granted, unlikely to be able to read) were stuck on the ice with LITERALLY nothing to do BUT read, nobody, but NOBODY, thought to read his James Ross asshole's fricking multi-volume journal (which were in the 100+ books the ships libraries), until this steward got bored enough to think 'Hey, the journal of the last white asshole to make it to this part of the world.  Maybe he knows something about this area.'

    That is what really has me cheesed off.

    Sunday, November 9, 2014


    Here's the "Plan" for next game, as I see it now:

    First we have a down-time session.   Andrew will manage a Lightning Round and we cover somewhere between 2 and 4 weeks of recruiting, shopping and/or research.

    Then, we split the party:

    Group 1:
    Rotwang, Murderface, Tiberio, and Rinaldo will attack Castle Graf.
    Dave will set up the scenario, with Andrew, Marlon, Toby and whoever else shows playing the inhabitants of the castle.

    Group 2:
    Amicus, the Masked Archer, Shady Jack and Split-Tongue will attempt to conquer Diggers. 
    Jason will judge with Bob, Tim and Robert playing various guardians of Diggers.
    If things look a bit light attendance-wise, perhaps we can have Robert play Decius or Manfred on this assault rather than running some bad guys..

    Judges should be looking at really just 2-3 encounters worth of action at each location, rather than a full dungeon expedition.

    Saturday, November 8, 2014

    Goals in the Badlands

    I know that Rotwang wants to seize Tower Graf and make it into Tower (Rot)wang.
    Amicus wants to take over Diggers.

    The Masked Archer of the Apocalypse wants to find the lost Temple of Mars Ultor in the Badlands somewhere , and hopefully within it the long-lost Tome of the Mamertine Apocalypse, in which all is revealed.   Therein he would house the Order of the Ultores, in their bid to restore the Neutral gods to supremacy and make a tidy profit doing so.

    My thoughts for next week is to perhaps divide the group into 2 teams, one of which will be led by Rotwang to capture Tower Graf.  The second of which will be led by Amicus to capture Diggers.

    The members of one team would "play the bad guys" against the other team.

    I'll draw up Tower Graf and oversee the action there, since I already know what's going on there and who's in charge etc.

    Would someone else: Jason? Bob? Tim? like to draw up what's in Diggers and run the action there?

    Friday, November 7, 2014


    Just to the South of Yoesville is a settlement known as "Diggers". Is that just a mining colony? Are those the lowlifes that once populated "Downtown Bastardville"? If so, I believe that Amicus needs to stop by there and annex their puny domain. Who is with me?

    Or is "Diggers" something else entirely?

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

    Session 29 Action Shots

    The Skull Collectors first descend into the ruins of the Bascillica of Noviodunum in search of the lost Rod of Castor. They are met by a legion of the damned.

    Later, the Skull Collectors fight a unit of winged demons. Unfortunately, the trap sprung by Murderface Jack does the most damage to the party.

    Monday, November 3, 2014

    The History of Gatavia Province - Dengwur

    Not everyone knows the history behind the rule of Dengwur. Dengwur was once a player character in a homebrew game that was set in the world of Baldgarth (our campaign world) around 1215 AY. For those of you who are not "in the know", please find (nearly) the entire story of how it all happened here.

    The early names of these places may be confusing. Here is a key to help newer players:
  • Portus Nardo = Portchester
  • Noviodunum = Island of the Dead (see episode 24!)
  • Castra Pullo = Pulchester (Where the Therks are)
  • Aurelius = Orchester (The big city to the South)
  • Quinteri = Cavano (sort of - however we've never been there in this campaign yet)
  • Thursday, October 30, 2014

    A Message For Khan Parsnak III from Publius Fulminator Amicus, Prelate of Yoesville

    Most Honored Khan Parsnak,

    I hope this message finds you well. Please accept the 1,000 gp worth of lavish gifts my messenger has delivered. As you might know, the blight of Lucius Bastardo and his rule of banditry have fallen to your North. I am now in command of the domain he once ruled, which is now renamed Yoesville in honor of my patron deity - Mighty Jupiter. I am in the process of rebuilding my forces and I have a need for brave and noble horsemen such as your people to fill the ranks of my cavalry. I anticipate trouble from our East shortly, so I require your help. Specifically, I would ask your permission to hire mercenaries from throughout your mighty domain over the span of the next 18 months. I would be open to negotiations and treaty discussions, but I'm afraid that I would be very disappointed if you refuse my reasonable request. I await your response.


    So, basically I want to be able to hire more mercenaries from another domain as outlined in the new ACKS Domains at War section. I should be able to put together some light cavalry units (and perhaps more infantry as well) just by being allowed to recruit within his domain. I'll need to know a domain size, and the number families within it to calculate how much it costs and how many mercenaries I can "harvest". I can only do that with the Khan's full cooperation.

    Monday, October 27, 2014

    Annex the Therks!

    I've been thinking "in character" recently.

    Amicus is trying to put together a kick-ass army for the inevitable conquering that will be coming soon in Adventurer, Conqueror, King. However, he is having a terrible time putting together cavalry. He's been training up mercenaries into a reasonable infantry force. He's got over 120 heavy infantry through recruitment and training. Now he needs some horsemen.

    That's where the Therks directly to the South come in. I would like someone (Jason?) to adjudicate Amicus' outreach to the Therkish warlord/warlords to the South to first try to bring them on board as my henchmen. If that doesn't work, Amicus is not above hiring the Masked Archer to take out the current leader so that Amicus might make another offer to the new leader. If *that* doesn't work, Amicus would like to investigate taking the Therkish domain (or domains?) by force.

    What strangeness could happen? Maybe Amicus is asked to marry the Therkish Warlord's backwards daughter. Perhaps the Therks demand that Amicus pays a tribute to them. Maybe the Therks are just asshats who need to be crushed by Rotwang and Murderface. In any case, Amicus is ready to annex more domains in order to build a more powerful fighting force.

    Once the Therks are under Yoesville's flag, I'll be able to command a more balanced force and use it to drive the forces of Denguir from the Badlands.

    Which reminds me. We need to drive all the bad guys from the badlands! Anyone want the forest of Hod as their domain? Amicus would support any foray into the Hag's domain. We may even want to do that before clearing the Island of the Dead.

    Jason, what is the state of Yoesville's treaty with BadAxe Hold? Do you know what forces are under Badaxe Jack's command?

    Thursday, October 23, 2014

    rewcon - my very own Mini-Convention

    With new home comes great responsibility -- to game in the basement. Early in the new year, I hope to celebrate my 44th birthday with a sort of mini-convention. I would like to have all my gaming friends (past and present) by and have a rolling schedule of games to play and enjoy. Maybe we'll even do some dinner? However, I'm looking for ideas for games that folks will try out or even run for folks who may or may not be strangers.

    Since it is my convention, I want to run Blood Bowl. This has long been my most favorite wargame, and I would love to start a league back up. It is so cheap to put together an army (team), the rules are free, and all you need is a board. I want to showcase this game first.

    I've also had a LARP ruleset that I've been toying with. I don't want to play a LARP game necessarily, but I would like to take an hour or two to try out the system. But that won't take long.

    Should we schedule a huge battle from our ACKS campaign that weekend? Maybe we can have some help fielding units of bad/good guys in a pitched miniatures wargame battle? Bob, do you have any boardgames we might wrap the night up with?

    Comment below, please.

    Monday, October 20, 2014

    Old Ones Ambush

    First of all, a big "welcome back" to Toby! It was great to have another familiar face at the Lords of Hack table. We look forward to seeing you more often.

    Other than that, check out this photo of the first Old Ones' ambush that happened in our game on Sunday. We've got to get better at not getting bushwhacked like that! Thanks for running a great game, Dave!

    Wednesday, October 8, 2014


    On November 8th, I'm planning to take a day-trip to the "FALL-IN" historical miniatures convention in Lancaster.   If anyone is interested in joining me, let me know and we can confab about pre-registering.

    Downside of Pre-registering:   if you have to pay the whole weekend rate, which runs to about $45.  I think the one-day visitor rate is less expensive, but you can't do it ahead of time.

    Upside of Pre-registering:  you can be sure of getting into the game event you want to do, and you avoid the long registration line (can save you up to an hour in some cases).

    I've had fun at all the game events I've gone to in the past, and the shopping for miniatures opportunities are pretty cool, there's a large dealer hall.

    Let me know if anyone's interested.

    Dave N

    Monday, October 6, 2014

    The Portchester Temple Caper

    Here is a nutty photo of the Skull Collectors looting the Portchester Temple vault. The hydra summoned by Tiberio fights off some animated statuary while Rotwang under the power of a growth spell (and turned green like the hulk!) fights the Ghost of St. Josey Wales. Behind them the Masked Archer engages an avenging angel of Bor, and the parked dwarven mole machine sits once its work is done. To the left Rinaldo drives off the Ghost of St. Chisum and Portchester sharpshooters (represented by Celts?!?) run down the stairs in the foreground to join the fight.

    Friday, September 19, 2014

    The Battle of Elfwood

    I've just posted our adventure log, but I wanted to go behind the scenes with you guys about how the battle was won. Using the ACKS Domains at War rules, army units have a battle rating (BR) for each unit. I calculated out each realm's maximum armies based on the number of families in each, and came up with the following order of battle:

    Elfwood Troops
  • 240 Light Infantry - BR 3
  • 120 Longbowmen - BR 7
  • 60 Light Infantry (Human Mercenaries) - BR 0.5

    Wormcult Troops
  • 240 Heavy Bugbears - BR 16
  • 360 Light Bugbears - BR 18
  • 120 Hobgoblin Longbowmen - BR 4
  • 120 Hobgoblin Light Inf - BR 2
  • 120 Hobgoblin Heavy Inf - BR 2.5
  • 60 Hobgoblin Light Cav - BR 3
  • 360 Goblin Light Inf - BR 1.5
  • 360 Goblin Bowmen - BR 1.5

    In a "simulated" combat as written in the D@W Campaign book, that is a combat where the battle itself if "offstage" and just background to the player characters' efforts, each "round" of simulated combat each side rolls a D20 for each rank of BR they have and subtract units for each "hit" which is a roll of 16 or greater after any changes. A 20 is always a "hit".

    I ruled that the Elves managed to ambush the wormcult troops, and that they had an advantage in that they were fighting in the trees. I went through the battle...and the Elves were just *crushed* in three rounds.

    If this battle had gone this way, the PCs would have been in a world of hurt following the battle we fought. They would have had to deal with Hobgoblin cavalry and bowmen as well as the heavy bugbears lingering around - each led by capable lieutenants. It would have been boring, long, and honestly the players may not have won.

    So, I decided that Griggle the Wormpriest was cocky and only brought along a percentage of his force. Here is the updated Wormcult order of battle you saw in the log:

    Wormcult Troops
  • 120 Heavy Bugbears Infantry
  • 120 Medium Bugbear Infantry
  • 60 Hobgoblin Light Cavalry
  • 120 Hobgoblin Heavy Infantry
  • 120 Hobgoblin Archers
  • 360 Goblin Infantry
  • 360 Goblin Archers

    I also posited that the Headhunters are attacking Wolton, and that 60 Light Infantry are there to protect it, bringing the Elf army back to this:

    Elven Troops
  • 120 Elven Longbowmen
  • 180 Elven Light Infantry
  • 60 Human Mercenary Light Infantry from Edge

    The elven army *STILL* would have lost. After four rounds, the elves would have had to make a morale check...which they fail!

    TurnElf BRWorm BRNotes
    110.521Surprise round; Worms don't roll
    51.59Elves break and run when under 1/3 of starting BR

    So, I went back and ruled that each round the players would kill off 1.5 BR rating of bugbears each round. Which brings VICTORY!

    TurnElf BRWorm BRNotes
    110.521Surprise round; Worms don't roll
    44.56.5Worms break and run when under 1/3 of starting BR

    So what is the upshot of all this? First of all, there are a huge number of goblinoids still out there ready to plunder the Elfwood and beyond. Not only are the headhunters in this area active with a fair number of armies which are currently working in concert (guided by some sinister unifying force) but Griggle could put his army back together and march back on Elfwood again at any time!

    Second of all, you guys defeated a LOAD of bugbears, and as such you get the spoils of war which includes a month's wages for the units you destroyed as tribute and bounty. For these bugbears you would get 4,320gp additionally to split up amongst yourselves. Additionally, unlike the elven army you could have decided to take prisoner up to 60 wounded and routed bugbears. You could sell them as slaves for up to 40gp each, which could count as 12 peasant families in terms of labor and output, at a possible cost to domain morale.

  • International Talk Like A Pirate Day

    Today as you all know, is International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Arrrgh!

    Wednesday, September 17, 2014

    Get Well Soon!

    It is no fun to go to the hospital, particularly if they are going to cut you open and take something out. Here's hoping Dave feels better soon!

    Monday, August 18, 2014

    Automated GM

    I had a great time last night using the "automated GM". Hopefully we can try some more of these experiments in the future.

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014

    Gatavia III Online

    I've created a new online campaign through Roll20 and I'm looking for players to try it out. Anyone interested?

    Monday, July 28, 2014


    Have any of you seen this?
    Roll20 Virtual Game Table
    Next question. Who wants to play online? I'm interested in giving this a go!

    Monday, July 7, 2014

    Skull Mountain Finale

    Thanks to everyone who participated in the Skull Mountain Megadungeon. It is good to finally have it behind us. Now to conquer the Badlands!

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

    Baldgarth - Microscope

    Would anyone be interested in trying out Microscope and apply it to the first/second/third saeculum of the history of Baldgarth?
    I would love to do this online through a wiki if we could. Any interest?

    Monday, March 10, 2014

    Initiation Ceremony

    Thanks for the great game last night, gentlemen!

    So when should we schedule the initiation ceremony for our newest young member of the Noble and Honorable Order of the Lords of Hack? Do we have the beaver hat and hunting horn available? We should have the signature of Gary Gygax in the DMG as well.

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

    Comic Store West Flea Market...

    I don't know if anybody is in a buying mood, or whatever, but Comic Store West is going to be having a flea market at the store Saturday and Sunday. Apparently people are going to be selling tons of RPG stuff, miniatures, DVDs, and sundry other items. I plan on stopping buy probably first thing when they open on Saturday. Just thought I'd put the word out.

    Monday, February 10, 2014

    Mid-Long Range Schedule

    As far as I can see it now, our upcoming game schedule will look something like this:

    February  23:  regular game (but Marlon's out of town)

    March 9:  regular game (Marlon may or may not be back)

    March 23:  NO GAME  (I will be out of town March 14-22, but won't likely to be ready for action by the 23rd)

    March 30: regular game resumes

    April 13:  regular game  etc.

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

    The Battle for Neanderthal Valley

    I had been thinking of running the entire battle between The Pointy Stick clan goblins and the forces of Badaxe Jack through the old War Machine rules in the old D&D rules cyclopedia. Today, being basically bored, I actually spent an hour , or so, sitting down and adding everything up. The whole process reminded me of doing my taxes before nifty computer programs.

    The breakdown for the battle was something like this: A force of 100 of Badaxe Jack's forces set up at the top of a hill directly south of the goblin fort in early morning, while the remaining forces set up on the reverse slope or behind the hill. The goblins, thanks to their bad eyesite during daylight hours, decide to all out attack the dwarves (thanks to their belief that their foe is outnumbered 5 to 1). The goblins file out, form up ranks, and attack. When the goblins hit the bottom of the hill (taking several rounds worth of arbalest shots), the dwarves ignite several dozen goblin candles, which aren't quite enough to drive the goblins berserk, but are enough to get them to attack when the rest of the dwarves swing around either side of the hill.

    The goblin chief leads a pack of 50 warg riders around one side of the hill in an attempt to flank the dwarves, only to run into the dwarf flankers. The dwarf flankers consist of Murderface Jack (enhanced by a potion of super heroism and a bless spell), Murderface's Fan Club (consisting of 20 near-adult dwarves with the same stats as human berserkers enhanced by bless spell), 20 summoned dwarf berserkers (using a custom spell Badaxe set down on scrolls for a lower rank craft priest to cast enhanced by bless spell), and 20 mounted crossbow dwarves (enhanced by a bless spell).

    As the bulk of the goblins (250 goblins) begin their run up the hill to attack the dwarven center they run into heavy volleys of arbalests. The goblins that reach the top of the hill encounter Badaxe Jack's personal guard heavy infantry (plate mail, two handed axes, hand axe), regular heavy infantry (chain mail, shield, spear, and hand axe), and large number of crossbow troops (chain mail, arbalest, and battle axe).

    The goblin shaman leads a force trying to flank to the right (150 troops) running straight into a smaller pile of Badaxe Jack's heavy infantry (banded mail, shield, battle axe, hand axe), normal dwarven heavy infantry (chain mail, shield, spear, hand axe), small group of crossbow dwarves (chain mail, arbalest, battle axe), and Badaxe Jack himself.

    The goblins don't quite outnumber the dwarves two to one, but they do have mild spell support from the squishy shaman and they have the warg rider cavalry. They're all light infantry, using spears, shields, and slings. Their major downside is they were lured into attacking in daylight, making their crappy attack throw even crappier. Also, the dwarf arbalest and crossbows have TONS more range than the slings they're armed with. On the other hand, the dwarves are all heavy infantry in heavy armor (except for the berserkers, but they don't count).

    Now for those unfamiliar with the war machine rules, you take a wide variety of factors the book calls for (ranging from leader stats and level, to arms/armor of the troops, hit dice, training, magical abilities, and much more) then assigning a specified number based on the results, and adding them up for the base score. Then you add in variable numbers (like troop ratios, missile weapon ranges, attacking at a disadvantage, height differences, weather conditions, spying, and more) and decide if you're using tactics (in this case the dwarves are setting a trap and the goblins are rushing right into it). Add up all the points for either side, then roll a percentage die for each side and add it to their total. Then you compare totals, and consult the chart in the book.

    The end numbers that I came up with is the goblins having a total of 170, while the dwarves end up with 420. The goblins suffer 100% casualties and cease to exist. The dwarves suffer 10% casualties and are not fatigued at all. In addition, according to one of the rules, because of a certain magic item Badaxe Jack makes use of (a staff of healing), he can recover ALL of his casualties after the battle. As the DM, I would probably declare that the casualties are from the berserker contingent (since they were fighting much bigger monsters than themselves, and they're the poorest armored). The casualties on Badaxe Jack's side amounts to 29 troops lost, split basically evenly between the summoned troops (15 dead, but summoned, so no worries) and Murderface's Fanclub (14 dead). There is a lower level cleric (Feeble Jack) whose job it would be to run around during the battle just tapping wounded with the staff of healing.

    In the end, the party would get themselves together, ready to resist any goblins retreating out of the horrible smoke and dust cloud, only to see the bulk of Badaxe Jack's army march in triumph to the front gates of the (now former) goblin fort, while the rest are finishing off the wounded goblins and wargs.

    Surprisingly, most of the the war machine converts fairly well into ACKS, which makes sense considering they're based off the same system. The only question would be the wounded troops. Basically, thanks to Feeble Jack, none of the wounded fanclub die immediately. Almost all the casualties are horribly wounded and require bed rest to recover, however they all suffer a wide variety of disfiguring scars. A few (4) are severely crippled (smashed arms, legs, and spine), another few (3) lose an arm, leg, hand, or lips (but, surprisingly no genitals), and half of them (7)receive disfigurements that make them ugly as sin, but looking more like badass berserkers should. Thanks to to making a zillion dice rolls for those wounded MUCH easier. Once the wounded get back home, Badaxe Jack will probably spend a few days casting restore life and limb on the wounded to restore them (the ones who are severely crippled will accept, but some of the less wounded will like their badass scars).

    Badaxe Jack issued explicit orders before the start of battle that nobody but him kills the goblin shaman, and that's exactly what happens. Badaxe is seen hacking the goblin shaman's head clean off and spitting down it's neck hole. The goblin chief isn't found after the battle.

    Tuesday, January 28, 2014


    I had a super time on Sunday.  Thanks to you all, and to my dear friend Lord Chesterfield.